Children use crayons, markers, and other writing tools in different ways as they progress through the stages of artistic development from scribbling to detailed drawings. Along the way children experiment with colors, shapes, space, and ideas. Working with crayons, markers and other drawing tools enhances creativity and self-expression while the movement of the tool across paper develops small and large muscle control.
Stages in Children’s Drawing
There are four main stages you can expect to see in your child’s drawings:
1. Random Scribbling
- Large-muscle, whole arm movements.
- Scribble may extend beyond the edges of the paper.
- Drawing tools are usually held in the fist with minimal use of fingers.
- Lots of exploration.
2. Controlled Scribbling
- Smaller marks are made.
- Certain marking motions are repeated.
- Increased wrist control.
- More intricate loops and spirals.
3. Named Scribbling
- Names scribbles/drawings.
- Holds drawing tools with fingers.
- Makes a variety of lines.
- Increased concentration.
- Places marks intentionally.
4. Symbolic Representation
- Draws recognizable geometric shapes.
- Draws head to toe representation of the human figure.
- Includes details like fingers, clothes, hair, etc.
- Draws things that are personally meaningful.
You can encourage your child’s creativity by:
- Put on music and encourage your child to turn the paper in a different direction during the silence between songs.
- Provide textured surfaces for crayon rubbings like bark, concrete, combs, sandpaper, etc.
- Bundle several crayons or markers together and secure with a rubber band for a new color experience.
- Demonstrate how to use the point for making dots or thin lines, and the side for wide lines.
- Provide tissues for “polishing” a drawing made with crayon.
- Spray water on a drawing made with water-based marker to see what happens.
- Have your child try drawing with both hands at once.
- Try coloring heavily then lightly, quickly then slowly. Compare the marks made with each technique.